Monday, February 22, 2016

Book Tour Review & Giveaway: After the Woods by Kim Savage

Title: After the Woods
Author: Kim Savage
Publication Date: February 23, 2016
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Pages: 320
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//I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review//

Would you risk your life to save your best friend?

Julia did. When a paroled predator attacked Liv in the woods, Julia fought back and got caught. Liv ran, leaving Julia in the woods for a terrifying 48 hours that she remembers only in flashbacks. One year later, Liv seems bent on self-destruction, starving herself, doing drugs, and hooking up with a violent new boyfriend. A dead girl turns up in those same woods, and Julia’s memories resurface alongside clues unearthed by an ambitious reporter that link the girl to Julia’s abductor. As the devastating truth becomes clear, Julia realizes that after the woods was just the beginning.
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After the Woods first caught my attention with it's absolutely stunning cover. Although contemporary fiction is not my usual forte, I love a good survival story and I thought that After the Woods might be my kind of book after all. Coming out on the other side, I can confidently say that this is not a survival story (and maybe that's my fault for misinterpreting the synopsis).

This book is really about Julia learning to cope with her life after the woods. She doesn't quite feel like she fits in as she used to and even finds her best friend to be oddly aloof when she should be supportive and even thankful. Julia is my absolute favorite part of After the Woods. It isn't often that I adore a YA heroine, but Julia was amazing! She is tough but realistic, sarcastic but sympathetic. So often characters in YA are unbelievably badass and way too intelligent for their age. I can also really identify Julia's need to make sense of things. I cannot imagine how I would handle going through what Julia had, but Julia was believable as a teenager who had been traumatized, even if she did make occasional dumb decisions. I even enjoyed the romance, although I know that a lot of people found it unnecessary. 

Liv was the character I really didn't understand in After the Woods. It was obvious from early on that something was just off with her, though it wasn't clear what it was. There were some big issues explored with Liv's character and it was done in a way that made sense, which I appreciated. What I didn't quite buy was her reasoning some of the things that were explored. Not all of it made a lot of sense and I was honestly left confused by some of her actions, which brings me to the plot of After the Woods. 

A lot of mystery surrounds a lot of different things in this book. Unfortunately, I was able to piece together a fairly accurate theory pretty early on. The strangest thing to me was that none of the events and none of the mysteries felt especially... urgent? I'm not quite sure how to explain the experience I had while reading After the Woods, but the best way I can think to put it is that I felt nonchalant about the whole thing. I like my mystery with a sense of imminent doom hanging over it. In this book, we know from the very beginning that the kidnapper is gone, so Julia is just kind of meandering through facts and theories. Even the big reveal at the end seemed very anticlimactic. 

I did enjoy After the Woods. The atmosphere was just the right shade of unsettling and creepy and, like I said, I loved Julia! Getting to know her better and experiencing her recovery alongside her was the best part of this book, for sure. This book also kept me turning pages to see if my suspicions were true. I just wish the mystery had been a little more mysterious and exciting. I would recommend this book to fans of slow-burn mystery and great main characters! 

Author Bio
Kim Savage is the author of AFTER THE WOODS, a debut psychological thriller for young adults coming on Feb 23, 2016 with Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Macmillan. Her second thriller for young adults comes from FSG in 2017. Before writing fiction, she worked as business journalist, pitching stories along the lines of “Stigmatized Properties: When Murder Kills Property Values”. You get the idea.

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